Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Tarot Card of the Week – Dec. 24 – 30

The Devil

It is easy — terribly easy — to shake a man’s faith in himself.To take advantage of that, to break a man’s spirit is devil’s work.
— George Bernard Shaw

What can I say? I am certainly not thrilled to pull this card today, and was sorely tempted to draw again. I can make peace with it by saying that yes, it represents the time of Capricorn, which just began, making the timing nearly exact. And it just so happens that our local Tarot Meetup just worked with this card in our ongoing monthly discussions of each of the Tarot Trumps. There is a fun post here that examines the ties between the Devil and Santa Claus (who some extreme anti-Christmas Christians even call, “Satan’s Claws.”)

But, frankly, I find it disheartening to see the fearsome energy of this card in contrast to what we would all wish this week to be about: innocence, peace on earth, and tidings of comfort and joy. Is this about overindulgence at the holiday table? Family histrionics? Sliding back into destructive food, sex, drug or alcohol abuse patterns?

Oh dear. Three Majors in a row – something big is clearly going on. But to have to discuss The Devil in the week that celebrates what is gentlest and kindest in the Christian faith just makes me sad. Even though, as a Witch and a Pagan, he has nothing to do with me. Or does he?

Since he has come up so often lately, instead of once again re-hashing the meanings of this card, I decided to do a little exploring, to discover more about the connection between Satan and the Horned God of the Craft and Paganism. If you want to go back and re-read more direct interpretations, you can go here and here.

The image of Satan as a horned, hoofed, goat-headed monster is common throughout depictions of Witches Sabbats that date from the Burning Times. In modern Wicca and Paganism, the story goes that Satan was a product of the Church’s attempt to twist and make fearful an older, benign, pan-European horned God, who was the consort/child of the Great Goddess. As such, the Goddess and Horned God (the “Lady” and “Lord”) of Wicca are supposedly ancient tribal Gods of this faith.

However, while very appealing, and possibly exposing a deeper truth, there is little historic evidence to support these interpretations. Gerald Gardner, considered by some the father of modern Wicca, himself admitted that he had reconstructed his Craft rites from fragments, incorporating English folklore as described by the now-discredited historian, Margaret Murray.

In fact, many of the early leaders in pre-feminist modern Wicca, including Gardner, Charles G. Leland, and Sir James Frazer, were influenced by the book La Sorciere, written by 19th-century French historian Jules Michelet. While there are many portions of this work that today’s Pagans and Witches would recognize, it is also true that Michelet includes lengthy passages with “passionate, sympathetic depictions of Satan.” (Satanism and the History of Wicca, © 1992, 1994, 1996 by Diane Vera).

Of course, Gardner also drew heavily from other contemporary influences, such as the magical traditions of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, whose members, Arthur E. Waite and artist Pamela Colman Smith, created this very card.

So who is The Devil? Who is the Beast who enslaves us, who breaks our will to the point that, like in this card, we might escape if we were not so mesmerized by our fears that we’ve surrendered our very power to change? What do we believe about intentional evil at work in the world?

This week, it appears we have an opportunity to answer some of these questions, to break the spell of our destructive habits: apathy, hopelessness, self-inflicted pain. I believe that we can regain whatever hope and goodness we have allowed to be stolen away.

May this card be a wake-up call that offers a new beginning to all.

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  • December 27, 2007, 3:33 am earthreflection

    Its been a river of life since I’ve been able to post. I check in daily yet the water carries me swiftly past the calm eddy needed for response time. Hope you won’t mind this extra long post as I take advantage of this calm water tonight.

    Want to first and belatedly thank you again for your great thoughts regarding money and taking my question of plastic to a higher level with your response and comments about the power of our signature. Very cool.

    Appreciated also by your comments regarding time. Money and Time. Issues not for the faint of heart when living intuitively.

    Yet both important groundwork for this Advent season. Perhaps the advent for the Advent for the ADVENT to come in the New Year?
    I love this time of year. From Samhain to Candlemas. This year seems especially powerful for many reasons. Thanks for your Advent focus and reminders. A great gift.

    Interesting that the Tarot Cards of the week during Advent seemed to build on each other. The constant thread seems to be balance and personal respons-ability. In some ways the Devil card is the perfect card for this week. The challenge to be fully present to witness the miracle in each moment of now- to be fully awake.

    I was struck in reading your previous discussions about the comparisons between the lovers card and the devil card. That perhaps the angel and devil symbols represent the energy hanging around waiting for expression depending on the action or inaction of the human figures represented within the cards and holding the cards. The Tarot cards leading up to this week seem to give added emphasis to the importance and quality of our actions versus our inactions. And the importance of this time period of impending change on a personal level and global level.

    Will we influence the energy hanging around by our fearless heartfelt actions in connection with the Divine in all life or choose to wait for the deus ex machina of old?

    Thanks again for the great inspiring thoughts and an opportunity to go deeper.

    Back to the money stream. I was thinking of you the other day when watching a PBS special on the virtual game world of Second Life. One of the commentaries was describing how a monetary economy has evolved in this virtual world by the players agreeing that a virtual currency is now real and how that has now translated into real world income for various players.

    The concept of this whole virtual world of second life has me wondering about incredible possibilities for taking blogs such as yours to another level. Where one could create the incredible opportunities to do readings in real time in cyberspace through the use of avatars? What I find unsettling, in spite of the benefits, is that old conundrum of a person looking a picture of person looking at a picture etc. Then I question are we playing at being little gods in the creation of worlds and is there any potential to create more than just caricatures? Or can we really achieve a higher purpose that will translate back?

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    Earth Reflections

  • December 27, 2007, 9:06 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Wow! What a great response! Thank you, thank you! Like:
    Will we influence the energy hanging around by our fearless heartfelt actions in connection with the Divine in all life or choose to wait for the deus ex machina of old?

    You nailed this! Yes! Perfectly stated!

    That is very interesting about the development of currency in Second Life, and virtual worlds imitating “real” worlds, where in turn they also become “real” worlds, etc. etc.

    I find Second Life a totally fascinating diversion, but something I have so little time for. As it is, more and more, I find my life energy being sucked into virtual ethers, and I wonder if it is such a good thing…

    Can’t quite seem to shake the little voice of “Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!” that I sometimes hear as hours in front of the screen pass .. 🙂

  • December 28, 2007, 1:42 am earthreflection

    Yes, the balance of time eh? Brings to mind again your thoughts on how to rethink time and where we focus our energies.

    I often wonder if the internet and cell phones etc are not just pratice sessions on some baby level for people to get used to connecting in a virtual safe way.

    The baby steps for a time when telepathy and esp and the dreamtime worlds will be commonplace again. That the machine tools are only a way station for people to feel safe about exploring the ether worlds.

    Happy second day of Christmas!